Fugoo seemingly came out of nowhere a couple of years ago and wowed us with its Fugoo Style speaker. It was complete package, featuring great sound, swappable “jackets” to suit your tastes and a whopping 40-hour battery life.
In a slightly confusing move, Fugoo is now offering the Style-S, which sounds like a follow up to the original Style, but is actually a whole new speaker.
Unlike the Style, the Style-S is targeted towards those looking for a rugged speaker to take outdoors: Thanks to its unique mounting bracket at the bottom of the speaker, the Fugoo Style-S lets you mount the speaker to just about anything from bikes to backpacks.
After spending a week with the Fugoo Style-S, we were left impressed with some of the speaker’s features but, like the naming of the speaker itself, confused by others. While the Fugoo Style was an undeniable hit, the Fugoo Style-S may not be the best choice for those looking for a rugged wireless speaker under $150.
The design of the Fugoo Style-S is nearly identical to the original Fugoo Style. Both speakers share the same bar-like design with buttons on top for controlling volume and playback. The power and pairing buttons are located on the right side, just like the Style.
The biggest noticeable difference between the Style and Style-S is that the Style-S hides it ports behind a thick rubber flap, helping to keep dirt and water out of the fragile microUSB charging port and 3.5mm aux jack. That's interesting considering both speakers are rated IP67, which means they can be submerged in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
Fugoo’s handsome cloth appears on the Style-S too, but users won’t be able to switch it out for a different color jacket like they can with the Style. Bummer.
Another difference between the Fugoo Style and Style-S is the new accessory mount on the bottom of the Style-S which adds a universal mount to the speaker. Though this plate can be removed after undoing four hex screws, you'll need to be careful as the screws are easily stripped. Take it from us: we managed to strip one screw and were stuck using a mount.
To that end, Fugoo should probably revisit the hardware it uses to ensure these screws don’t strip, leaving users stuck with one mounting accessory.
We were blown away by the sound quality of the original Fugoo Style but a lot has changed in the last couple of years and the Style-S shows its age in the sound department. While the Style-S sounds good and gets very loud, thanks to its 20 watts of power, it clearly lacks bass response compared to its competition.
The good news is that the Fugoo Style-S offers a nice soundstage that lets you pinpoint where instruments are coming from. Since the Style-S doesn’t offer 360-degree sound, its directional speakers aid in soundstage representation, which is lost with 360-degree speakers like the .
It’s interesting that Fugoo decided to get rid of the 360-degree sound that we liked so much in the Fugoo Style, but it's not a complete deal-breaker.
Speaking of the Wonderboom, we found it provided noticeably more bass response but less resolution than the Fugoo Style-S. The Style-S is better suited for vocal music and offers more vibrant sounding highs than the Wonderboom, though we couldn’t help but like the UE’s added bass response for electronic and dance music.
Another speaker worth considering is the JBL Charge 3, which offers some of the deepest and most powerful bass response from a wireless speaker.
While the UE offered a pleasing balance of bass, the JBL Charge 3 offers even more bass, creating the illusion that the Charge 3 is a bigger speaker than it really is. The Charge 3 will also let you charge your phone in a pinch, something neither the Fugoo Style-S nor the UE Wonderboom can do.
Another area of performance that underwhelmed us was its battery life. Where the Fugoo Style can last up to 40 hours, the Fugoo Style-S offers a middle-of-the-road 15 hours. It’s a bit odd that battery life has been cut so much compared to the Style, but its 20 watt power rating might have something to do with it.
The Fugoo Style-S is a good speaker for the price ($150, about £116, AU$200) but tough competition makes the speaker difficult to recommend.
We liked how the Style-S sounded, offering good resolution and a sense of space. It also gets very loud, which is useful outdoors. Its accessories also make it easy to mount just about anywhere. However, the UE Wonderboom is half the size, offers 360-degree sound and more bass for less money (it's $99, £79.99, AU$129). For most users looking for a rugged speaker to use outdoors or near a pool, we still recommend the UE Wonderboom.
Bass lovers will want to check out the , as it offers booming bass at a more affordable price ($150, £149.99, about AU$200). Highs and mids suffer compared to the Style-S, but the bass-heavy sound of the JBL is undeniably fun.
- Not feeling the Fugoo Style-S? Here's our guide to the best Bluetooth speakers